Wargaming The English Civil War. Part 1.

Wargaming The English Civil War.
(Part 1: The Basics.)
Richard Mc Clean.

Starting a new Period such as the English Civil War (ECW), can be a daunting task. First of all you have to decide on the Rules, Lists, Figures, Uniform and Flag details etc. I intend to help make this transitional period, a pain free one.

The Rules: Look inside the pages of the most popular Wargame Magazines and you will see loads of ads for various sets of Rules. They range from the most basic to the quite complex, or if you are that way inclined; you can use a set of Computer based Rules. My own preference is the WRG Renaissance, 2nd Edition; by George Gush. This covers the entire spectrum of Renaissance Warfare but other Rules are available that specialise in the ECW. The Army Lists are published by the same WRG.

The Figures: These Articles are written with the assumption that you are using 25mm figures. But the information still applies no matter what scale of figures you are using. Everyone has their own preference when it comes to Wargame Figures. My own 25mm Royalist Army is composed of mainly Front Rank Figures but their numbers are slowly being overhauled by my newly bought Redoubt Figures. Again, check the Magazines, as new manufacturers and new ranges are appearing all the time.

Uniform/Flag Details etc: You could fill a room with the amount of books that have been published dealing with the ECW. Check the Magazines for Book Dealers, there are a few that specialise in this Period. Ask your local Library for a print out on all subjects relating to the ECW. They should be able to order in any of those books that are on the list. I normally do this to see if it is worth my while spending money on a particular book. Another way is an obvious one, join a Club and get the benefit of experienced Wargamers who have done all the hard work for you.

The following are names of Firms and Magazines that I have found useful. This is not a complete list. If you are at all interested in Historical Wargaming, then start buying the first three Magazines on my list. If you cannot buy any of the other items on my list locally, their ads will appear in the Magazines.

 Magazines: Miniature Wargames. Wargame Illustrated. Practical Wargamer.
 Booklets: ECW Notes and Queries. Partizan Press, 26 Cliffsea Grove, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex. SS9 1NQ.
 WRG are available from various mail order/local outlets.

The Flags and Uniform details are from various publications:
The Osprey Men at Arms and Elite series. 
The  Brassey Living History Series. One of the latest books covers the ECW with hundreds of photographs of  Re-enactment Societies such as the Sealed Knot in action. Available in most book stores or mail order.
The Arquebusier, the Magazine of The Pike and Shot Society. This Society is dedicated to the Renaissance Age. You can find their address in most Wargame Magazines.
The English Civil War: by Philip Haythornthwaite. Published by Blandford. (recommended)
Plus several articles found in the various Wargame Magazines. You may still be able to pick up some back issues, a letter to the Magazines’ Editor should clarify this.

The Armies.

Well here you are, you have the Rules, the Lists, all the uniform details you need; so where do you start?
First of all you need to decide the size of your Army, its composition and most importantly, are you for King or Parliament?.

Some of you may decide to do both, but most of us pick one side or the other. I shall describe two Armies. A Royalist Army from the middle period of the War and an Army based on The New Model Army. Both Armies have been drawn from WRGs’ Army Lists. The Armies are for around 2000 pts. The normal size for competitions is 1500pts. But this is restrictive. For friendly games I suggest 1750 to 2000pts

The last section in this Article will deal with the way in which I base my own Units. This method is my own
personal preference, it is not compulsory under the Rules.

The Royalist Army.



Type Pts Figures Total Command Points
Commander in Chief 100 1 100
Subordinate General. 50 1 50
HCC, A Class, 2 pistols, sword, order. 16 8 128 10
HCC, A Class, 2 pistols, sword, order. 16 8 128 10
HCC, B Class, 2 pistols, sword, order. 17 8 136 10
MC, C Class, 2 pistols, sword, order. 13 10 130 10
Dragoons, MI, C Class, firelock,sword, horse, open order. 10 12 120 10



Kings’ Lifeguard.


Type Pts Figures Total Command Points
Pike, HI, B Class, pike, sword, close order. 7 20 140 10 (Sub)
Shot, MI, B Class, musket, sword, Swedish Feather, salvo, order. 10 16 160 10 (Sub)



Royal Irish.


Type Pts Figures Total Command Points

Pike, HI, C Class, pike, sword, close order.

6 16 96 10

Shot, MI, C Class, musket, sword, order.

7 16 112 10 (Sub)



Newcastles White Coats.


Type Pts Figures Total Command Points
Pike, HI, C Class, pike, sword, close order. 6 16 96 10
Shot, LI, C Class, musket, sword, order. 6 16 96 10 (Sub)



Cornwall Militia.


Type Pts Figures Total Command Points
Pike, MI, D Class, pike, sword, close order. 4 24 96 10
Shot, LI, D Class, musket, sword, order. 5 14 70 10 (Sub)





Type Pts Figures Total Command Points
Heavy Gun, C Class crew. 1 70 70 20
Medium Gun, C Class crew.
54 108 20
Light Gun, C Class Crew. 2 43 86 10 (Sub)


Total # of pts: 2002.

The New Model Army.



Type Pts Figures Total Command Points
Commander in Chief 100 1 100
Subordinate General. 50 1 50
HCC, B Class, 2 pistols, sword, order. 17 8 136 10
HCC, B Class, 2 pistols, sword, order. 17 8 136 10
HCC, C Class, 2 pistols, sword, order. 15 8 120 10
Dragoons, MI, B Class, flintlock, sword, horse, open order. 11 20 220 10
Pike, HI, B Class, pike, sword, close order. 7 12 84 10
Shot, MI, B Class, musket, sword, salvo, order. 9 24 216 10 (Sub)
Pike, HI, B Class, pike, sword, close order. 7 12 84 10
Shot, MI, B Class, musket, sword, salvo, order. 9 24 216 10 (Sub)
Pike, HI, B Class, pike, sword, close order. 7 11 77 10
Shot, LI, B Class, musket, sword, salvo, order. 8 22 176 10 (Sub)
Heavy Gun, B Class crew. 75 1 75 20
Medium Gun, B Class crew. 58 2 116 20
Light Gun, B Class crew. 46 1 46 5 (Sub)


Total # of pts: 1997.

As you can see, my own Royalist Army is listed a bit more personally. The Units names probably bear no resemblance to any Historical Unit. I use them for my own amusement.
There is always a possibility that I have got my sums wrong. If you find any fault with my maths or my interpretation of the Lists, please let me know.

Basing of Figures:
All Commanders are on separate bases. Order Cavalry are based in pairs, e.g. in an eight man Unit, there are 3 double bases and 2 single bases. All Open Order cavalry are on single bases.
I prefer to mount all individual guns and crew onto a single base. That is 1 gun and crew onto a single base and to record any casualties.
The shot within a Regiment/Unit are on double bases with a few figures mounted on single bases. e.g. a Unit has 16 musketeers, I put 8 on either side of the pike. Each based as follows: 3 x double and 2 x single bases.
The pike are a bit more awkward. Some people like to have them several ranks deep, I prefer not to have the models more than two figures deep on any base. Depending on the size of your pike block, I use the following system. In a Unit of 24 pike: 1 x 6 figures, 2 x 4 figures (2 figures wide), 3 x 2 figures (wide) and 4 single figures. I find this system can let me put my Unit into almost any formation.

Army Deployment:
Unless someone presents you with an unusual Scenario, your best bet is to deploy your Army in the traditional manner.
Put your Infantry in the centre, the Cavalry on the Wings (keep 1 Unit in Reserve if you have plenty of Cavalry), and place your Guns either on high ground, or at least in a position where they have a clear view of all possible targets without having to move. The musketeers in each Unit would normally be divided and placed on either side of that Units’ pikes. Any light Guns that are a Sub-Unit, should be place with the Units that are expected to see the most action.
Use your Cavalry to try to slow down the enemy. Quite often the threat of a charge is just as effective as the actual charge itself. Concentrate your Artillery and musketeers on those Units that have slowed down. The use of Dragoons in Open Order on the flanks of such stalled Units can be devastating.

Charging The New Model Infantry Regiments without first softening them up, is not advisable. The Royalist Army should have more Units, use this to your advantage. Try to concentrate two of your Units onto one Unit of the enemy. Watch out for your D Class Units, they like to go home and wait until it’s all over.
New Model Army Units are very reliable and therefore will suit those players who like defending or are just starting out in the Period. It is an Army that is hard to Rout.




Wargaming The English Civil War.
(Part 2: The Uniforms.)
Richard Mc Clean.

This is a basic guide to the Uniforms of both sides during the English Civil War (ECW). For a more detailed study, I suggest you read the ECW from Blandford and the Osprey Uniform books; their full titles can be found in part 1 of this series.
I shall list the coat colours for the early Parliament forces but from then on I will be concentrating on the New Model Army (NMA) and the Royalist Army.
Remember that even the NMA didn’t have all its’ troops dressed in total uniformity. Variations within a unit was the norm. Those who could, bought clothes that fitted better and were of a higher quality than those purchased for them by the Army. Having said that, most owners of a NMA have them all in red with the cuff turnbacks a different colour.

In the Osprey MAA 110, the cuff turnbacks are explained as the result of the sleeve being too long and that it interfered with the musketeers’ ability to fire properly. The sleeve was turned up and this exposed the lining. As the Units’ coats would be ordered at the same time, the one colour would be used for the lining; thus giving a sense of uniformity. Whatever the reason, you would be entitled to give your NMA Units different coloured cuffs.

The red for the NMA wasn’t the bright red that you see today, but rather a brownish-red. If you still prefer a pure red, then go for a dark red; not one that blinds you as soon as you open the paint jar.

In my own Royalist Army, only the Kings Lifeguard has all of the figures painted the same. All the other Infantry Units are about 70/75% identical with the rest painted slightly different and mixed in with the others. Do not go overboard and paint them all different, your Units will look like a rabble. My one Unit of Raw/Militia although painted differently, have two common colours running through the Unit. This gives the look both of uniformity and irregular appearance. The same applies to figure poses. In my Lifeguards the figures are nearly all of similar pose and are dressed accordingly e.g. all the pikemen are wearing breastplates, musketeers all have the same type of hat/helmet, etc. The further down you go in quality, the greater the variation in dress and posture.

In future Issues there will be Articles dealing with specific Units/Arms of both sides. If anyone wishes to pass on any of their knowledge in this field, we would be more than happy to hear from them.

I am greatly indebted to a publication called A Wargamers Guide to the English Civil War (2nd Ed) by William B Protz. Published by Z & M Publishing Enterprises 1977. This is an American Rule book, but can be obtained from Friekorp. At least, that’s where I bought my copy all those years ago. Not only does it cover the Rules and Army Lists but also Uniforms, Tactics, Formations etc. Highly recommended.

I have mentioned the Pike and Shot Society before. This organisations deals with the Renaissance Period, from late Medieval to about 1704. In 1981 there appeared a series of Articles dealing with the ECW by Stuart Asquith, the Editor of the late lamented Practical Wargamer. These gave invaluable information about the NMA and its’ flags. It is from this publication that I have gathered most of my information for various projects, when involving this Period.

The London Trained Bands were the equivalent of to-days TA If they had sided with the King at the beginning of the Conflict, History would have been very much different. Unfortunately we know virtually nothing about their Uniforms, but we do know a great deal about their Flags. ( Flags will be covered in another Part).

Each Trained Band was known by its’ “Colour”. In the Blandford Book, it states that the “Colour” of each Regiment referred to the colour of the Units’ Flag and not the coat. The list below assumes that the coat was the same colour as the Flag. As far as I know, there is no evidence to either support or refute this.

As there are no details concerning the Trained Bands’ Uniforms known to me, I would personally paint them to match their Flags.

A Listing of Known Coat Colours.




Edward Aldrich. Sir J Meldrums till 1643.
Lord Sayes before Edgehill.
Blue. Sir Matthew Appleyard.
Had been Sir Charles Vavasours.
Thomas Ballard. Gray. Sir Alan Apsley Red.
Lord Brooke. Purple. Colonel Bard. Gray.
Sir Henry Cholmley. Blue. Colonel Blackwall. Black.
Sir William Constable. Blue Col Robert Broughton. Green.
Earl of Essex. Orange. Sir Ralph Dutton. White.
Thomas Grantham. Russet?. Col John Frescheville. Blue.
John Hampden. Green. Charles Gerard. Blue.
Sir Arthur Heselrige. Blue. Colonel Hawkins. White.
Denzil Holles. Red. Lord Hopton. Blue.
Samuel Jones. Green. The Kings’ Lifeguard. Red.
London Trained Bands: Earl of Lindsey. (The Lord Generals Regt).
(Later passed to Lord Forth)
1st Red. Marquess of Newcastle. White.
2nd White. Earl of Northampton. Green?.
3rd Yellow Colonel Paulet. Yellow.
4th Blue. Sir William Pennyman. Blue?.
5th Green. Lord Percy. White.
6th Orange. The Queens’ Lifeguard. Red.
Earl of Manchester. Green lined Red. Prince Rupert.
(Had been Sir Thomas Lunfords).
Sir John Meldrum. Red. Colonel Talbot. Yellow.
Sir John Merrick. Gray. Colonel Henry Tiller. Green.
Edward Montagu. Red lined White.
Lord Robartes. Red
Southwark Auxiliaries. White.
Sir William Springate. White
Earl of Stamford. Blue.
Tower Hamlet. Yellow.
Col Ralph Weldon. Red.
Westminster Auxiliaries. Yellow.







Lord Fielding. (Earl Of Denbigh) Gray?. The Kings’ Lifeguard. Red.
Lord Hastings. Blue. Prince Rupert. Blue.
John Okey. (Dragoons). Red. Prince of Wales. Red.



Throughout the ECW the Artillery were dressed in civilian clothes. On the Campaign they would have picked up anything that looked dry and warm. Your Artillery, if painted in a nondescript way, could be used for both sides. The composition of the Artillery was never a fixed Organisation. The Commander would assemble whatever he thought he would require for the task ahead.

Basic Colour Guide to the ECW.

Contary to popular belief, Royalists were not confined to the broad rimmed hat nor were the Roundheads only seen wearing their famous Lobster-pots. The wide, black felt hat was the most popular and again the colour of this would vary. Woollen hats, Monmouth Caps, Monteroes and helmets would be worn by both sides. At most encounters both sides would have some form of identification in their hats e.g. a green/flowering bough or a coloured feather.

Most troops wore a white shirt with large collars. The collars were normally worn outside the jacket. After a few days in the “field” I doubt if any shirt remained white.

Fabric Coats:
Unit Commanders tried to dress their men the same, but expense and the fact that some dyes were hard to get; sometimes made this impossible. The coats could have or be without sleeves. Many coats could be of unbleached linen or some other neutral colour.

Buff Coat:
This coat is probably the one that everyone has on their figures. Originally for the cavalry, it became almost universal. It offered great protection against sword cuts and the occasional nasty jab of a pike. Most would be of a buff or a mustard colour. Buff coats were with or without sleeves.

Again may Units tried to match the colour of the Coat. The trousers were normally baggy and were tied at the knee with a garter. Others just hung loose as baggy trousers. Gray and browns are the colours most mentioned. Some Units had a coloured seam down the legs. I use the garter to distinguish my Units by painting them a different colour for each Unit.

These would be showing if garters are being used. They could have been of any colour but Gray was the most common.

For the infantry these were mainly a brownish colour. For cavalry, only riding boots would do. These again were mostly brown.

As the war went on, the wearing of armour became less popular. However cavalry, Officers and pikemen continued to wear it. The armour was normally painted black to prevent it rusting. I use “Chainmail” for my armour, drybrushed over a black undercoat. Remember, not all pikemen would have armour. Armour was expensive and scarce.

These were mostly black or brown. The poorer infantry tied everything down with string.

This is just what it says, a Basic Guide to ECW Uniforms. For more details on particular uniforms, especially those of the cavalry; I recommend you get the Osprey Series or the Blandford book. Try the library if you cannot afford to buy them.

Remember if you are using the NMA, then most if not all of your units will be dressed in red. The Cavalry will mainly conform to the mustard/buff coloured coat that is shown in most illustrations. There is more artistic licence when it comes to painting the Royalist Army. I have in my Army two fictitious Units, The Royal Irish and a large Militia Regiment from Cornwall. The Royal Irish has green as its’ main colour and the Militia are painted mainly in civilian clothes with a few wearing obsolete Armour. (I use figures from the 30 Years War for these).

Wargaming The English Civil War.
(Part 3: Flags of The London Trained Bands.)
Richard Mc Clean.

The Royalist fate was really sealed once the London Trained Bands and the City itself declared for Parliament. The vast reserves of the London Armouries were lost to the Royalists and this meant that the capture of London was imperative.

As far as I know only one coat of the Trained Bands has survived and there is some doubt even about that. However details about their Flags have survived slightly better.
The London Trained Bands originated in the Middle Ages with the raising of Units consisting of Free Citizens who resided within the London Borough Boundaries. Formed into four Regiments in 1616, the Common Council increased their numbers to 40 Companies each of 200 men. They were brigaded into 6 Regiments, each one taking its’ name from the colouring of their Flags:

Red (1), White (2), Yellow (3), Blue (4), Green (5) and Orange (6). Southwark (7), Westminster (8) and Tower Hamlets (9) each raised a Regiment. The City also formed six weaker Auxiliary Regiments, known by the same Colours. They were probably used to replace casualties and to support the Trained Bands in Battle.

Infantry Flags were about 6 1/2 feet x 6 1/2 feet, or about 2 metres square. The general rule of design was that the Colonels Colour would be of one colour, the Lieutenant-Colonel had the St George Canton alone and the rest of the senior Officers would have devices flowing from the Canton. Many Colonels included devices from their own Coat-of-Arms and Mottoes that expressed their political opinion.

I apologise for my standard of drawing, but anyone who wishes to see the original drawings should check the illustrations in the recommended Book List that accompanied the first ECW Article in Issue 1 of M.I.D. or ECW1 at the start of this Series of Articles..
All drawings are designed to be used with 25mm figures. (I like large Flags) Those using a smaller scale can reduce them by photocopying after downloading the Artwork.





I will include a few blank flags for you to use as you wish. I have only the one flag with each Unit but many Gamers like to have at least two. I suggest you include the Colonels’ Flag (which is the base Colour only) and also one of the Captains.

But first a few Notes about the London Trained Bands:

The descriptions that I have for the Southwark and the Westminster Regiments are the same. Whether someone has made a mistake or both Units had the same Flag (which I doubt), I just do not know. Both are said to have Yellow Flags with Medium Blue Roundels.

Note that both the Southwark and the Tower Hamlets Units do not have a Lieutenant Colonels Flag. Apparently that rank did not exist in these Units.

The Tower Hamlets Flags are Red with Silver Branches and Sprigs in the corners and with White Roundels for the Captains Flags. The writing ( IEHOVA PROVIDE BIT.) I believe is white, but it could have been Silver. There is a possibility that the Sprigs in the corners were also in the top right corner of all the Flags. In that case, just move the White Roundels closer together.

The Cantons were a red cross against a white background.

The London Auxiliaries were the same as for the Trained Bands, except that most used the Piles Wavy to indicate Majors and Captains. The Green, White, Yellow and Blue Auxiliaries having these of Gold, Red, Blue and Gold respectively. The Red and Orange Auxiliaries used White Roundels in a diagonal row. The Orange Unit had a Pile Wavy for the Major.

A lot of my data/information as been gathered up over the years. Some of it I am sure is now out of date and has been replaced with new research. If anyone has any new/up to date details I would appreciate it if they shared it with us.